Considering on a Piccolo

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BrassBandMajor, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. BrassBandMajor

    BrassBandMajor Fortissimo User

    Jan 13, 2015
    I am ready to give up my lunch time to practice the picc at school. My best friend is moving to Adelaide so yeah.... :(
  2. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    While I am by no means the master, I am happy with the work I put in to tame the little beast :-):play:
  3. Peter McNeill

    Peter McNeill Utimate User

    Jan 30, 2009
    Melbourne Australia
    I have a couple of Piccs, and I still sound like a cat fight. I would never play them in Public, and have never had a call to play them, although I did loan one to the 1st Chair in a Concert Band. He sounded fantastic - so it is me not the horn.

    I smile when I see a young'un thinking that they gain an easy register. It's like a leaner driver talking about driving a F1 or Indy racecar on the week-end with a half hour lesson from their "School Learner-Driver Instructor". always a wry, knowing smile with the expected crash ending.

    I have chopped myself out in the early days trying to muscle the Picc, then realised it is not about the wrestle with the beast. I think you should save your money at this stage, and work on the normal Bb for a few years. Borrow one, or go to a store and try one - two or three before you even consider buying one. These are specialist horns, needing some brain and technique re-sets to make them work.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I had a Selmer D/Eb trumpet first, but it didn't help. You need the sound concept. I find that when a teacher plays first that many less words are interchanged.
  5. dangeorges

    dangeorges Pianissimo User

    Oct 20, 2010
    I have heard "regular" trumpeters (B-flat trumpeters) pick up a piccolo and sound like a duck quacking.
    The key is to understand that you're an octave higher than normal. Once you get in that mindset, it's not hard to master (my own opinion, of course).

    It would be almost as tough going from trumpet to euphonium.
  6. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    It hasn't been easy, but I play both picc & euph in addition to normal Bb cornet and trumpet and like what I do with all of them, and that is with a diagnoses now of COPD which has my pulmonologist asking how I do it. He doesn't believe my answer of persistent practice. I did quit the tuba, and can only wish I didn't have to.
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think that the "sound" expectation inherited from the big horn makes novices try to blow the crap out of a picc. The problem is not the octave, rather the ears connection to the brain.

  8. Sterling

    Sterling Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 22, 2007
    Marcellus, NY
    I bought my first Piccolo trumpet in high school 1973, a Getzen Eterna 4 valve. Since then I play a Schilke P5-4 and Schertzer sterling bell and leadpipe rotary pic.

    I play pic every Christmas and Easter as well as many wedding ceremonies. I have a rehearsal tomorrow of the last two choruses of Handel's Messiah that I'll use my Schilke on. Rouwk is correct. Don't try playing it like your normal B flat. Try playing lyrical instead of punching notes out.
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I had a pic at one point - a pretty nice Besson short model. I ended up selling it for two reasons:

    1.) I rarely played it - I think that maybe I gigged it once. Maybe. Maybe not. At this point I don't really remember, and that horn has been gone since about 1997.
    2.) I had a tough time transitioning between it and standard Bb trumpet.

    If I buy another small horn, and at some point I really would like to, it will be an Eb\D - not a pic. I've been chided for my decision to do that by a friend who believes that a pic is always the better option on parts that are originally in D - the Clarke Trumpet Voluntary and the Hallelujah Chorus being two that immediately come to mind - but I've never had an issue transitioning to an Eb\D, and for as little as I'd use it, I'd just rather not have the pic.
  10. dangeorges

    dangeorges Pianissimo User

    Oct 20, 2010
    The guys I've heard try to play definitely have a problem understanding (or hearing) the notes an octave higher than normal. Hence their "quacking" sound. Maybe that's what you're saying is trying to blow too much air through.

    You're right, however, that once they figure out the pitch differential, they still tend to overblow rather than sing through it.

    P.S. Many B-Flat players don't sing enough through the horn either. I tell my students that they should think of playing trumpet more as playing music WITH a trumpet. Sure, there are "trumpet-y" things they need to do, but overall, they are playing music. Not just playing the trumpet.

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